4 Filipino Olympic medalists receive Senate Medal of Excellence, cash awards
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s four Olympic medalists on Monday personally received the Philippine Senate Medal of Excellence bestowed upon them by the upper chamber following their victory in Tokyo.
Olympic medalists Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial visited the Senate session hall to receive the Senate medal.
They are the first recipients of the newly established Senate award.
The Philippine Senate Medal of Excellence seeks to “recognize, honor, and commend outstanding Filipinos for their exemplary service, outstanding achievements, and invaluable contributions to nation-building.”
Aside from the medal, the four athletes also received cash incentives from the senators.
According to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, senators each pitched in P100,000.
Diaz, who bagged the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, received P1 million.
Silver medalists Petecio and Paalam were given P500,000 each while senators granted Marcial, who bagged a bronze medal in boxing, P400,000.
In a speech, Senate President Vicente Sotto III honored Diaz for lifting the pride and spirit of the country when she won the gold medal.
“Hidilyn’s dedication, sacrifices and self-discipline to achieve her Olympic goal were beyond compare. Her journey was never easy, but she rose above it,” Sotto said.
“Like most of the successful athletes, it was her will to prepare to win that truly helped in her formidable victory,” he added.
Sotto also lauded other Filipino Olympians as well as the officials of the Philippine Olympics Committee.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also congratulated the country’s Olympic athletes not only for “superbly representing us in the Tokyo Olympics but also for giving us a collective feeling of euphoria and national pride every time we saw one of our kababayans on the winner’s podium.”
“Our athlete’s tenacity and fortitude in pursuing the greatest honor an athlete can give their country are unmatched,” she said.
“We are very fortunate to be represented by a new generation of athletes who are bold and fierce, outspoken in advocating for their fellow athletes, and undeterred by the challenges thrown their way,” she added.
Hontiveros particularly commended Diaz and Petecio, saying their victory will “encourage more women and girls to become athletes, to set more Olympic records, to break the glass ceiling, and to prove that sports…are not just for boys.”
“You show us, Ms. Nesthy and Ms. Hidilyn, that girls with dreams become women with vision,” she added.
Senator Pia Cayetano likewise paid tribute to Filipino female athletes.
“Our Filipina athletes have come a long way. Obviously, the whole nation rejoiced when Hidilyn brought home the gold medal, the first gold medal of our country, brought home by a woman,” Cayetano said.
Senator Joel Villanueva, for his part, expressed full support for the Senate resolution awarding the first batch of the Philippine Senate Medal of Excellence to the four athletes.
“This is truly a historic day because the first-ever Filipinos who will be conferred the Philippine Senate Medal of Excellence are our young athletes who have displayed discipline, determination, diligence, fear of God and love of country,” he said.
“Mr. President, these athletes have the heart of a warrior–strong and unwavering; and within these hearts mark a vestige of love for our country, the people and God,” Villanueva added.